Despite a brief scare in the bottom of the ninth, the San Diego Padres emerged victorious in the series opener against the Cincinnati Reds.
Coming into this tilt, the San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds were completely even in the National League standings. Both teams were 58-65 and sitting 7.5 games back from playoff contention. While the Friars are out of the running for the NL West, the Reds are still very much in play for an NL Central title.
The Padres seemed on pace to cruise to a victory on Monday evening. Carrying a two-run inning into the bottom of the ninth, however, closer Kirby Yates nearly blew his save opportunity after a perfect outing from his bullpen.
Yates allowed a run to score to make it a 3-2 game, then proceeded to load the bases with two outs for Eugenio Suárez. It could’ve been a heartbreaker, but instead Yates got the best of Suárez as he struck out swinging, knocking the Reds down a peg with his 36th save of the season.
On offense, San Diego had a nice change by getting on the board early when Manny Machado drove in an RBI single in the first inning.
Want a cool Manny stat? Machado had a .643/.722/1.643 going against Trevor Bauer coming into this series. That’s a nice reprieve amidst his tough slump in which he’s hitting a paltry .182/.239/.212 in August.
That said, Machado wasn’t the only player who took advantage of Bauer. Greg Garcia went 2-for-3 against the pitcher with two runs scored while Francisco Mejía crushed the go-ahead home run to put the Friars up 2-1 in the fourth inning.
Despite the runs allowed, Bauer actually had a solid night overall. He went seven innings pitched, allowing three runs (two unearned) with an impressive 11 strikeouts and one walk. His defense didn’t help much, allowing a run to score on an error in left field while the offense was stymied and held to only one run in his outing.
Speaking of Padres pitching, Eric Lauer did a fantastic job on the mound despite his stat line. He held the Reds to only one run and finished the night with five strikeouts and two walks. Lauer was pulled after four innings, likely because he got up to 86 pitches and was allowing Reds on base.
Fortunately, the bullpen backed him up with a scoreless outing until Yates took the mound.
That was quite the relief (pun intended) considering Wingenter has a 9.64 ERA in the second half of the season. Craig Stammen took care of the side with two strikeouts and a forced groundout to hand Yates the save opportunity.
The Padres have now won three in a row and will go for their second straight series win on Tuesday evening. First pitch is at 4:10 PM PT/7:10 PM ET.
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